‘Where’s our sense of history?’: Robredo says move to rename NAIA ‘ill-timed’
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday branded as “ill-timed” the move to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in the midst of the country’s battle against the virulent COVID-19.
Robredo also pointed out the very reason why the country’s main gateway to the world was named after former Senator Benigno Simeon “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and raised the question: “where is our sense of history?”
“Ito, parang, nasa gitna tayo ng pandemya, ‘di ba? Nasa gitna tayo ng pandemya, ito pa talaga maiisip natin,” Robredo said in an interview over CNN Philippines’ “The Source.”
(We’re in the middle of a pandemic, right? We’re in the middle of a pandemic and this is what we’re really paying attention to right now.)
“Number one, it’s ill-timed. Number two, alam naman natin why (we all know why) it was named Ninoy Aquino International Airport. So iyong tanong (So the question is), where is our sense of history?” she added.
On Thursday, presidential son and House Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, and ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap have filed House Bill No. 7031 that seeks to rename NAIA to “Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas”
For the three congressmen, changing the name of NAIA will make the airport “easily be identified as the international doorway of the country, in view of it being in Filipino language and branding it as the international airport of the Philippines.”
In 1987, the Manila International Airport was renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport in honor of the late senator who was assassinated in its tarmac on August 21, 1983, as he was disembarking from a plane that came from the United States where he was exiled.
Aquino was a fierce critic of the Marcos administration and a stalwart of the opposition at the time.
“Ngayon pa talaga? (Should it really be renamed now?),” retorted Robredo upon learning of the bid to change the name of NAIA.
“Ngayon pa talaga na dapat all hands on deck tayo na nagtutulong-tulong para masugpo iyong pandemya. Ngayon pa iyon naiisipan,” she added.
(They really thought of that now when all hands should be on deck to help each other, to eradicate the virus. It’s what’s being thought about now.)